The focus of the Research Directorate is to support democratic accountability and transparency, and assist Parliament and Canadians in determining whether national security and intelligence mandates are being discharged appropriately and effectively. Through our work, the Directorate also supports Ministers by providing insight into the national security and intelligence activities of their portfolios.
Our research team is comprised of a number of individuals with diverse backgrounds, bringing together a wealth of experience from across many sectors. Researchers have knowledge and expertise in the areas of privacy, accountability, security and intelligence, the law, evaluation and reporting.
Our key responsibility is carrying out reviews of any national security or intelligence activity undertaken by any Canadian federal organization. NSIRA members are responsible for approving the annual research plan, examining draft review reports presented to them, and approving reviews.
More broadly, the Research Directorate is responsible for:
- Developing and managing all aspects of NSIRA’s research program;
- Coordinating the production of annual classified reports to the Ministers of Public Safety and National Defence;
- Initiating and leading outreach with external stakeholders, both domestically and internationally, to develop linkages and enhance partnerships; and,
- Providing strategic advice to NSIRA Members and the Executive Director on a wide range of security and intelligence, civil liberties and human rights issues.
Bill C-59 includes several provisions authorizing collaboration with, and the sharing of information between, the NSIRA and other accountability bodies, including the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP, the recently created National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICoP), the Office of the Intelligence Commissioner, and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
In particular, the NSICoP has a mandate to review the legislative, regulatory, policy, administrative and financial framework for national security and intelligence in Canada, as well as departmental activities related to national security and intelligence.
The Research Directorate works with NSICoP to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort. NSIRA and NSICoP seek to have complementary approaches in their reviews to enhance the effectiveness of their respective mandates, and in this way strengthen the assurance they provide about the activities that the security and intelligence community undertake.
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